BGI and the Digital Silk Road (General)

by dan @, Friday, July 30, 2021, 12:05 (172 days ago) @ dulan drift

CBS: The financial stakes for dominating the global biotech sector — the industry that's bringing us the COVID vaccine — are staggering, estimated to be worth up to $4 trillion a year. For perspective, that's more than the valuation of Amazon and Apple combined.

Some notable excerpts from the CBS link:

Jon Wertheim: It seems like a bit of a bait and switch. We pay 100 bucks, whatever it is, for our ancestry reports. And then they actually wanna turn around and sell our genetic data.

Lisa Ikemoto: That's what's being hidden. That you're allowing your personal information to be used by others. And that information's being transferred to third parties. And it's being for uses that you never imagined.

People are paying these companies to build DNA databases that the companies will then sell. That seems a bit ass backwards to me.

Jon Wertheim: 23andMe has a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, $300 million dollars to develop drugs based on this DNA. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Lisa Ikemoto: They might produce something very useful. In that sense, it's good. It means that 23andMe and GlaxoSmithKline will make a huge amount of money. The people who provided all the cells and tissues or DNA that's being used will make none. They'll be probably charged a lot of money (LAUGH) for the drugs if they ever need them.

Jon Wertheim: So we're providing the raw materials to create this product and then we have to pay for the product?

Lisa Ikemoto: Yeah, that's exactly right. People are now being mined for their raw materials. It raises concerns about what it means to be human in this world.
emphasis added

Yikes. That's stark. Dystopian is a word I rarely saw in the press growing up. Now it's commonly used. I think it applies here.

But this is nothing new in the US. If it weren't for my current job, I'd have no health insurance in the US, and I couldn't afford to buy anything meaningful. And yet, most of the doctors were trained in public universities funded by tax dollars that I contributed to. This is just taking an old practice one step further.

Jon Wertheim: But this idea that the value of this company is in the data. This is where the real growth potential is. Your chief scientist said, "It's genius. People were paying us to build databases."

Anne Wojcicki: What we have done is we have empowered individuals with this opportunity to come together, to crowd source research. And I absolutely stand behind: we are going to develop drugs. So that everyone is actually benefiting from the human genome. So absolutely the data is valuable.

Yeah, right. Nice try Anne. Can you sprinkle a little more sugar on that pile of horseshit that you just spewed? Idiots are giving you money to find out where grandpa came from. And, again, these 'empowered' people will pay through the nose for your drugs, or not be able to afford them at all.

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